Spades (suit)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The 8 of Spades

Spades ♠ or ♠ (four-colour suit) is one of the four suits of playing cards in the standard French deck. It is a black heart turned upside down with a stalk at its base and symbolises the medieval weapons, the pike or halberd.

In French the suit of Spades is known as the Pique and in German as the Pik. It corresponds to the suit of Leaves Bay gras.svg (Laub, Grün, Schippen or, in Bavaria, Gras) in the German suited playing cards. In Switzerland, the suit is known as Schuufle ("shovel") and in many German regions, e.g. the Rhineland as Schüppe/Schippe ("shovel").

In Bridge, Spades rank as the highest suit. In Skat and similar games it is the second-highest suit.

Name[edit]

The French name for this suit, pique ("pike"), meant, in the 14th century, a weapon formed by an iron spike placed at the end of a pike.[1] For playing cards, the term may have been coined by analogy with the Latin symbol from which it is derived, the sword.

In other languages, the term is usually derived from pique: German: Pik, Spanish: picas, Romanian: pică, Russian: пики, Czech: piky, etc. Sometimes it is an adaptation of "sword", hence the English name, Spades, and the Portuguese espadas.

Characteristics[edit]

The spade symbol is a very stylized spearhead shape, pointing upwards, the bottom widening into two arcs of a circle and sweeping towards the centre to then form a sort of foot.

Generally, spades are black. They form one of the two major suits in Bridge (with Hearts).

The following gallery shows the spades in a 52-card deck of French playing cards. Not shown is the Knight of Spades used in Tarot card games:

Coding[edit]

The symbol ♠ is already in the computer code set CP437 and therefore also part of Windows WGL4. In Unicode a black ♠ and a white ♤ Spade are defined:

Symbol Unicode Entity in HTML
U+2660 BLACK SPADE SUIT ♠ or ♠
U+2664 WHITE SPADE SUIT ♤

Etymology[edit]

The French word pique meant "spear" or "lance".

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Pique". Centre national de ressources textuelles et lexicales.